NEWS BRIEFS

MenuDirect offers special meals

MenuDirect Corp. in Piscataway, NJ, recently introduced a line of entrees designed for people living at home on medically restricted diets due to dysphagia or other chewing and swallowing malfunctions. The consistency-modified, flavor-enhanced meals are prepared in the company’s distribution center and shipped overnight to customers within the continental United States. Clients reheat the meals, which cost less than $3 per serving, using microwave or steam heat.

MenuDirect entrees provide a cohesive bolus, making them easy to chew and swallow, according to Veronica Alicea, RD, MBA, manager of health care promotion. The products also limit the meal fatigue of those living with dysphagia, and give caregivers a break from the challenges of special diet preparation, she adds.

Menu offerings range from cheese pizza and roast beef and cheddar sandwiches to Alaskan seafood casserole and Key lime mousse. In October, the company launched a line of gluten-free products for individuals with gluten allergies and wheat intolerance. It plans a diabetic menu offering in Spring, 1999, according to Alicea.

Customers may directly order meals by calling MenuDirect’s toll-free number (888) 636-8123 (MENU123). There, trained customer service representatives screen callers to ensure that MenuDirect products meet their needs. Professional dietitians are also available to assist clients. "This is a valuable resource for those with dysphagia," she says.


Olsten and Prudential sign exclusive contract

Olsten Health Services, Melville, NY, and Prudential HealthCare Midwest Plan, Roseland, NJ, recently entered an exclusive contract enabling Olsten, through its Network Services program, to provide home nursing and infusion therapy services to Prudential’s over 200,000 HMO and point of service members in Cincinnati and Columbus, OH, as well as Indianapolis and northern Kentucky.

Olsten’s Regional Network Center in Houston will coordinate referrals under the agreement, which is effective Aug. 1, 1998. Both Olsten and its Network Services-contracted providers will provide services. "Olsten was chosen because of its ability to provide the services we feel are most important to our members, who require either long- or short-term home care," according to Mike Graham, vice president of operations, Prudential HealthCare Midwest Plan.


Call for conference papers

The Canada West Foundation recently announced a call for papers for its conference "Healthy People and Healthy Communities: A Canada-United States Dialogue on Best Practices in Public Health." The conference will be held May 8-9, 1999, at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, and is intended for health administrators, practitioners and policy-makers who deliver health care services and/or develop health policies.

The Conference’s purpose is to promote a sharing of successful Canadian and American public health policies and practices. Its four themes cover integrating preventive and conventional medicine, pushing the boundaries of conventional medicine through complementary and alternative therapies, outcome measurements, and the ethics of health care.

The deadline for presentation abstracts is Dec. 1, 1998; however conference organizers may consider additional submissions. Contact Carey Hill at (403) 264-9535 or via e-mail at hillca@ucalgary.ca for further information.

The Calgary, Canada-based Canada West Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization. Its mission is to serve as a catalyst for informed public policy debate.